This special spun-glass covering alone isn't enough, though. Standard wallpaper glue can't hold up to an earthquake, so the KIT group collaborated with the polymer makers in the materials science division of the chemical company Bayer. They made a flexible, soft adhesive from water and a large amount of polyurethane beads.
Once the adhesive penetrates grooves in the masonry, the water evaporates to anchor the substance in the wall. Similarly, when the wallpaper goes on, it gets completely surrounded by the beads. Together the whole setup won't tear during an earthquake.
To find out just how well it works, the seismic fabric was tested on a replica house in an earthquake simulator.
"Because of the earthquake wallpaper, we were unable to make the building collapse," KIT researcher Mortiz Urban told Deutsche Welle. In a recent press video, Bayer indicated that the wallpaper will start going into commercial production this year through partner companies. It's expected to cost more than regular wallpaper, but the drastic difference for people living in earthquake-prone areas should be well worth the price.
Photo: The earthquake wallpaper is fixed to walls with a special adhesive. Credit: Bayer Material Science.